Gay rights activist Larry “Deacon” Maccubbin was at a party with friends in 1975 when the topic of New York Pride eventually came up. As they were discussing who would be going, one of his friends asked why their own city, Washington, D.C., didn’t have a similar event ─ it was the nation’s capital, after all. The idea stuck in Maccubin’s head.
By the late 1950s, Shirley Horn had performed all up and down the U Street corridor a countless number of times, but her show at the Howard Theatre one October night in 1958 was particularly memorable for her. The jazz pianist and singer happened to be in the ninth month of her pregnancy at the time and was expecting the baby to be due any day.
In addition to tours of the Great Wall and the Ming Tombs, former D.C. mayor Marion Barry’s trip to China in May 1984 involved talks with Beijing mayor Chen Xitong about constructing a symbol of the friendship between the two capital cities in the form of an archway in D.C.’s Chinatown.
If you visited any major U.S. city in the early fall of 1995, there’s no doubt you would have heard of the Million Man March for Black men in Washington, D.C., on October 16, either from flyers posted around town or through word of mouth. After all, plans for a massive gathering of African American men on the National Mall had been in motion for over a year.
Long before the invention of the airplane and a short time before trains were used for commercial transportation, congressmen traveling to Washington for extended periods faced a complicated issue: where would they live in the developing capital city while Congress was in session? Some wealthier members of Congress could purchase private residences or stay with a colleague, but this was not a realistic option for most. The most common solution by far, was to reside in one of the District’s many boardinghouses. Several former presidents, including Abraham Lincoln, found boardinghouses to be a phenomenally sufficient option during their congressional years— for a reasonable fee, a boardinghouse would provide you a room, quality meals, place to work, and lively conversation with fellow residents, many of whom were also politicians. Boardinghouses were scattered throughout the city, but the majority of them were located on Capitol Hill in the area where the Library of Congress stands today.
The U.S. Botanic Garden—located adjacent to the Capitol in a triangle between Maryland Ave SW, Washington Ave SW, and First Street—is rooted in the earliest planning of the capital city. Many of the Founding Fathers believed that a living repository for plants would have countless benefits, from the production of food and medicine to the scientific study of international specimens to the enjoyment of aesthetic beauty. George Washington himself wrote an impassioned letter in 1796 about how a botanic garden should be included in the city plan, even suggesting a few feasible locations.
“If we go, we’re going to take this building with us...There’s going to be a helluva smoke signal.” That’s what Russell Means, an Oglala Dakota, told Evening Star reporters a few days after he and a group of several hundred other Native Americans broke into the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in Washington, D.C. and refused to leave.
On the night of February 24, 1867 in the nation’s capital, Scarlet Crow, a visiting Sioux chief, mysteriously disappeared. No one knows for sure what happened. Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate oral history proposed that he was kidnapped, while the Evening Star newspaper put forth that he had simply wandered and gotten lost. What is indisputable, however, is that after that night, Scarlet Crow was never seen alive again.